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Fiorentina 0-3 Lazio: Player grades and 3 things we learned

The Viola disappoint and it’s clear expectations must be lowered for the rest of the season

ACF Fiorentina v SS Lazio - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Player Grades

Pietro Terracciano—5: He was shakier in possession than usual and nearly gave away the ball in bad spots a couple of times. I’d also argue he could’ve come out quicker on Immobile’s goal, he gave Ciro plenty of time to pick whatever spot he wanted. While Pietro’s a mid-level Serie A keeper, we need an upgrade this summer if we’re to compete for Europe.

Cristiano Biraghi—4.5: Biraghi’s shortcomings on both sides of the ball have been obvious for years, but he continues to start every match without competition and unfortunately some days those weaknesses are exposed. Today was one of those days and the own goal which he should have prevented only adds to the misery.

Matija Nastasic—3.5: He was fine in the first half, and while I was still questioning his inclusion in the team I was more comfortable with him playing. Then came some of the worst defending I’ve ever seen, gifting Ciro Immobile the second goal which put the match out of reach.

Nikola Milenković—5: He was the best of our defenders today, but still struggled with positioning and communication throughout the match. He had a great save off the line in the first half to prevent Immobile from scoring. If he’s going to take the next step into a dominant center back seems less and less likely every day, unfortunately.

Lorenzo Venuti—5: Unfortunately, Venuti can’t offer much going forward, and it is no surprise the right-hand side with him and Jose Callejon was stagnant the entire match. This would have been a perfect match for Odriozola, it’s a shame he was suspended.

Lucas Torreira—2: That was bad. From the beginning of the match, I noticed Torreira jogging in places he should have been running. Then came the misplaced passes, which gifted Lazio a couple of great counterattacks during the match. I can’t remember how many times I watched Luis Alberto dribbling into space where Torrerira should have been. Then came the unnecessary and petulant red card to top off the worst individual performance I’ve seen from any Viola player this year. Torreira’s done so many great things for this team and I’m sure it’s a one-off, but it’s really hard for this team to be successful if such a key piece plays like garbage.

Alfred Duncan—4: Had good moments here and there but still offered nothing going forwards and was out of sync with Torreira the entire match. Sometimes his play in possession is just not crisp enough, and that was the case today. When even his normal strong suits such as his defensive positioning are off, he’s not a good player. I understand why he started but he really should have been taken off at halftime for Youssef Maleh.

Giacomo Bonaventura—5: Jack was pretty invisible today and fluffed some half chances, but still did a good job pressing and providing some balance to the midfield. However, it’s not enough for just one of our three midfielders to play average and the other two to play horribly.

Jose Callejon—4: Why Callejon even played a minute in this game makes no sense to me. We know who he is as a player. While he was great in the past, he’s not great today. In fact, he’s invisible. Why he was picked to play over Riccardo Saponara and Jonathan Ikone leaves me wondering what the hell Vincenzo Italiano was thinking.

Arthur Cabral—5.5: An intriguing debut for the Brazilian. Definitely has a long way to go but he looked like he belonged on the field and worked hard. He showed flashes of brilliance here and there and I do think he’s the right guy for Fiorentina in this spot moving forwards.

Riccardo Sottil —7: The lone Fiorentina player who showed up to play. Sottil looked dangerous from start to finish, tearing Manuel Lazzari down the left hand side all match. Between this and the Cagliari match, Sottil seems to be turning a corner in his game, and a trio of him, Nico, and Ikone moving forwards is a great rotation to have.

Subs:

Gaetano Castrovilli —4.5: To be fair to Castro, he needs to play either centrally or on the right to play his best. Still, he wasn’t able to contribute much going forwards. Was unlucky on the penalty call, while I don’t think it was a penalty there wasn’t much else he could’ve done in this situation. He really needs to step up in the next three months or I’m not sure we’re seeing him on the roster next season.

Nico Gonzalez—5 Was brought into a bad situation but still didn’t show the game-changing flair we know he has. We need him to rest up and be 100% healthy because his contributions are going to be crucial for this team’s success moving forwards.

Ikone, Piatek, Ambrat — N/A: None came into the match at a point where they could have much impact.

Three things we learned

1. This team isn’t ready for Europe

This was Fiorentina’s most important match of the season, one that will go a long way towards deciding whether the team will play European football next season. Instead of looking calm and composed, the team looked disjointed and miserable. With our home-field advantage seemingly gone, this team is going through some serious adversity right now. The season is far from a lost cause and there is plenty of time to rebound, but performances like today cannot happen if the team wants to achieve its goals of European football.

While I’m not ready to push the panic button, it is time for expectations to shift. No longer am I hoping for this team to be playing in Europe next season. Rather, I hope we can hold on to our key players such as Torreira, Milenkovic, and Nico, and invest the Dusan and Chiesa money into the squad's many weak points. Then, a year from now we should comfortably be in the top 7.

2. Vincenzo Italiano isn’t ready for Europe

I’ve loved Vincenzo Italiano as a manager, but today was his worst showing yet. As soon as I saw the lineups, my jaw dropped when I saw Callejon and Nastasic. Why he would play them in such an important match is honestly a mystery, and this was an instance where I hated being proven right. If Italiano is to become a top manager, he needs to stop rotating so much for no reason. Conte, Inzaghi, Sarri, and Spalleti all don’t rotate nearly as much as Italiano, and it makes sense. If you want to win games, play your best players! And while he has no control over Torreira dropping a stinker in such a big match, he should have subbed him off at halftime for Amrabat before he caused any more damage. A seriously disappointing and worrying performance from Italiano, who has had a great season but needs to improve for this team to start winning again.

3. This team’s discipline is an issue

This team now has eight red cards this season and we’ve only played 26 matches. What is up with that? While today’s game was already over before Torreira was sent off, there is a recurring pattern of dumb red cards which cost this team points. This is both an Italiano and players issue. He needs to teach better discipline, and the players need to be smarter.

How this changes, I’m not sure. But something needs to because we’re all sick and tired of watching our players be sent off.